What Backyard Chickens Should and Should Not Eat

At Rent Backyard Hens we receive a lot of questions regarding what the chickens should and should not eat when it comes to table scraps and what may be found growing in the yard. We love this question because it shows that our customers truly care about the health and well-being of the hens and what ultimately may get passed to humans through their eggs. As such, we've provided a list of foods that are considered healthy for chickens to eat and a list of food items that are best avoided.

And if you're looking to spoil the girls with one of their favorite treats, be sure to pick up some dried mealworms - the hens love them and they're packed with protein.  

Safe For Chickens

  • Almonds / Almond Butter
  • Apples
  • Bananas (and peel)
  • Basil
  • Beans (cooked)
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Bread
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Greens: lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and carrot greens
  • Meat - pieces of cooked fish, beef, and pork cut up into small bites. In moderation, meat is good protein for the hens. No raw meat, please.
  • Mushrooms (that are safe for humans to eat)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta (cooked)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peas (raw, dried, or cooked)
  • Raisins
  • Rice (cooked)
  • Squash (winter and summer)
  • Stone Fruits (no seeds or pits)
  • Strawberries
  • Most Vegetables (raw or cooked)
  • Wheat

Not Safe for Chickens

  • Acorns
  • Alcohol 
  • Apple seeds (in excess)
  • Avocados and avocado skins and pits
  • Beans (dry)
  • Butter
  • Cherry pits
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Coffee grounds / caffein
  • Eggs (raw)
  • Fast Food
  • Fried food
  • Green onions
  • Moldy bread
  • Nightshade leaves (leaves from tomato plants, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers)
  • Onions
  • Potatoes (raw/uncooked)
  • Potato peels (raw)
  • Processed foods
  • Raw meat
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt (in excess)
  • Spoiled or moldy food
  • Stone fruit pits and seeds
  • Wild mushrooms

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